P-I – Gangs taking more Seattle kids

Gangs taking more Seattle kids

Even as teens die, grade-schoolers eager to join

By CLAUDIA ROWE, SCOTT GUTIERREZ AND HECTOR CASTRO
P-I REPORTERS

Trying to reach teenagers increasingly exposed to gun violence and attracted to gang life, a motivational speaker recently met with the 600-member student body at Cleveland High School and threw down the gauntlet. It came in the form of a rope stretched across the floor.

“Stand on the line if you are not being raised by your mother or father,” said Brenda Caldwell, as many youths stepped forward. Stand on the line if you have experienced emotional or physical abuse. Stand on the line if you are holding anger or unable to forgive.

“They flooded the gym floor,” said Caldwell, a Tennessee-based counselor who works in schools, giving lectures to youth around the country. “There was no talking, no speaking, but the message in Seattle was loud and clear.”

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